This section is devoted for the information regarding any and every temple directly related to GowdaSaraswat Brahmin community. Any big or small temples, famous or otherwise can be covered in this section.
*ഒരു വിഹഗ വീക്ഷണം*
പത്മശ്രീ. പുരുഷോത്തമ മല്ല്യാ
കൊച്ചി മട്ടാഞ്ചേരി ജെട്ടിയിൽ നിന്നും പടിഞ്ഞാറ് അര കിലോമീറ്റർ അകലെ ചെറളായിയിൽ കൊച്ചി തിരുമല ദേവസ്വം കിഴക്കെ കുളത്തിന്റെ വടക്കു കിഴക്കായി ശിവനെ പ്രതിഷ്ഠിച്ചിട്ടുള്ള ക്ഷേത്രമാണ് ഉദ്യാനേശ്വര ക്ഷേത്രം
ഈ ക്ഷേത്രത്തിൽ പ്രതിഷ്ഠിച്ചിട്ടുള്ള ശിവലിംഗം തൃശൂർ ഇരിഞ്ഞാലക്കുടയിൽ നിന്നും 13 മൈൽ അകലെ സ്ഥിതി ചെയ്തിരുന്ന ഒരു പുരാതന പുണ്യക്ഷേത്രമായിരുന്ന തൃക്കണ്ണാ മതിലകത്തെ ഭീമാകാരമായ ശിവലിംഗമാണെന്നുള്ളതാണ് ഐതിഹ്യം. മതിലകം എന്ന പദം ഉത്ഭവിച്ചത് ശിവക്ഷേത്രം മതിലുകൾക്കുള്ളിൽ സ്ഥാപിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളതുകൊണ്ടായിരുന്നു. തൃശൂർ ജില്ല ഗസറ്റിൽ 1962, ഇപ്രകാരം പറയുന്നു. “പ്രശസ്തി നേടിയിട്ടുള്ള തൃക്കണ്ണാ മതിലകം പിന്നീടുള്ള കാലഘട്ടത്തിൽ കീർത്തിപ്പെട്ട ശിവന്റെ ക്ഷേത്രസ്ഥലവും, ഗുരുവായൂർ, കുടൽമാണിക്യം ക്ഷേത്രങ്ങളും അതുപോലുള്ള കേരളത്തിലെ മറ്റനേകം ക്ഷേത്രങ്ങളും ഒരിക്കൽ അതിന്റെ കീഴിലുള്ളവയായിരുന്നു.” ( പേജ് 79 )
മതിലകത്തിലെ ശിവലിംഗം പരശുരാമൻ നമ്പൂതിരി ബ്രാഹ്മണരുടെ നന്മയ്ക്കായി പ്രതിഷ്ഠിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളതാണ്. ആ ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ അതിർത്തി മതിൽ ഒന്നര മൈൽ അകലെയായി വടക്ക് “തെപ്പക്കുള“വും തെക്ക് “നിരംജേരിക്കുള“വും ആയിരുന്നു. ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ പടിഞ്ഞാറെ ഭാഗത്ത് “ചെംപ്പലിക്കുളം” എന്ന പേരിൽ ഒരു കുളം ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. കേരളത്തിലെ ആദ്യ ഭരണാധിപരായ പെരുമാക്കന്മാർ അവരുടെ രാജ്യകാര്യാലോചന സഭ നടത്തിയിരുന്നത് ചെംപ്പലി കുളത്തിന്റെ നടും പുരയുടെ മേൽപ്പോട്ടുള്ള മണ്ഡപത്തിൽ ആയിരുന്നു. നിയമം ഏർപ്പെടുത്തുകയും, ഒടുവിലത്തെ കല്പന കൊടുക്കുകയും രാജ്യകാര്യ സംബന്ധമായ വിഷയങ്ങൾ ആലോചിക്കുവാനുമായിട്ടുള്ള രാജ്യഭരണ കാര്യാലോചനസഭ, “വിധ്വൽ സഭ” എന്ന നാമധേയത്തിൽ അറിയപ്പെട്ടിരുന്നു. 101 പറ അരിയിൽ പാകം ചെയ്ത നിവേദ്യമായിരുന്നു ദിവസംതോറുമുള്ള ക്ഷേത്രത്തിലെ നിവേദ്യം.
ഊരാളന്മാർ അതായത് തെക്കേടത്ത് എന്നും വടക്കേടത്ത് എന്നും അറിയപ്പെടുന്ന നായന്മാർ മതിലക ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ കാര്യങ്ങൾ നടത്തിക്കൊണ്ടിരുന്നു. ഭാസ്കര രവിവർമ എന്ന ഒടുവിലത്തെ പെരുമാൾ ഭൗതികമായ അധികാരം ഉപേക്ഷിക്കുകയും ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ ഭരണനടത്തിപ്പിനുള്ള പൂർണ്ണമായ ഭരണാധികാരം ഊരാളന്മാരെ തന്നെ ഏല്പിച്ചു കൊടുക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. ഊരാളന്മാർ ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ പൂർണ്ണഭരണം കൈക്കൊണ്ടശേഷം ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന് കൂടുതലായി ആറു മതിലുകൾ കൂടി ഉയർത്താനും, അടക്കം ചെയ്ത ഓരോ മതിൽക്കെട്ടുകൾക്കുള്ളിൽ വ്യത്യസ്ത ജാതികൾക്ക് താമസം അനുവദിക്കുവാനായി ആഗ്രഹിച്ചു.
അവരുടെ പദ്ധതി പ്രകാരം ഏറ്റവും പുറത്തുള്ള മതിൽ ഇരിഞ്ഞാലക്കുട ഗ്രാമത്തിലെ നമ്പൂതിരിമാരുടെ സങ്കേതത്തിൽ കൂടി കടന്നു പോകുകയായിരുന്നു. നമ്പൂതിരിമാർ ഈ തീരുമാനത്തിൽ എതിർപ്പ് പ്രകടിപ്പിക്കുക ചെയ്തുവെങ്കിലും യാതൊരു പ്രയോജനവും ഉണ്ടായില്ല. വേറെ മാർഗ്ഗം ഒന്നും കണ്ടെത്താൻ കഴിയാത്തതിനാൽ നമ്പൂതിരിമാർ ഒരു ഹോമം നടത്തുവാൻ നിശ്ചയിക്കുകയും ശത്രുക്കളെ നാശം വരുത്തുവാൻ വേണ്ടി ഈശ്വരന്റെ മുമ്പിൽ പ്രാർത്ഥന നടത്തുകയും ചെയ്തു. അവർ 41 ദിവസം നിരാഹാരം അനുഷ്ഠിച്ചു. ശ്രീ. ടി. കെ. കൃഷ്ണമേനോൻ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ” സ്പീചസ് ആന്റ് റൈറ്റിംഗ്സ്” എന്ന പുസ്തകത്തിൽ ഇപ്രകാരം എഴുതുന്നു ” അവരുടെ പ്രാർത്ഥനയ്ക്ക് ആഗ്രഹിച്ച ഫലം കിട്ടി. നിസ്സാരമായ ഒരു കാര്യത്തെ തുടർന്ന് രണ്ടു പ്രബലരായ നായർ ഭരണാധികാരികൾ വഴക്കിടുകയും അവരുടെ ഭിന്നിപ്പ് കാരണം കാലക്രമത്തിൽ അധ:പതനം സംഭവിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. കൂടാതെ കീർത്തിപ്പെട്ട മതിലകം ക്ഷേത്രവും അവസാനമായി ഉപേക്ഷിക്കപ്പടുകയും ചെയ്തു.” ( പേജ് 206 )
പതിനാലാം നൂറ്റാണ്ടിന്റെ അവസാനം മതിലകം കോഴിക്കോട് സാമൂതിരി രാജാവിന്റെ കൈവശം വന്നു. എന്നാൽ എ. ഡി. 1717 മതിലകം ക്ഷേത്രം സ്ഥിതി ചെയ്യുന്ന പാപ്പിനിവട്ടത്തിന്മേൽ ഡച്ചുകാർക്ക് പൂർണ്ണ പരമാധികാരം സിദ്ധിച്ചു. തൃശൂർ ജില്ല ഗസറ്റിൽ പറയുന്നു, “പുരാതനമായ തൃക്കണ്ണാ മതിലക ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ തമിഴ് സാഹിത്യത്തിലെ കുണവായിൽ കൊട്ടം പേരിലാണ് മതിലകം എന്ന പേര് സിദ്ധിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളത്. ഈ ക്ഷേത്രം ഡച്ചുകാർ നശിപ്പിച്ചതായി പറയപ്പെടുന്നു. മതിലകം പൂർവ്വകാലത്ത് പണ്ഡിതന്മാരുടെ പഠിപ്പിക്കുവാനുള്ള കേന്ദ്രമായിരുന്നു. ഇവിടെ അതിന്റെതായ പുരാതനകാലത്തെ മഹത്വം ഓർമ്മപ്പെടുത്തുവാൻ സ്മാരകാവശിഷ്ടങ്ങൾ ഇപ്പോൾ ഇല്ല.” ( പേജ് 619 )
ഡച്ചുകാർ ആ ലിംഗവും അതോടൊപ്പം ക്ഷേത്രത്തിലെ മറ്റു അവശിഷ്ടങ്ങളും ഫോർട്ടുകൊച്ചിയിൽ കൊണ്ടുവന്നു. അത് അവരുടെ ആസ്ഥാനമായിരുന്നു. അവർ ലിംഗം കപ്പലിന്റെ കുത്തുകുറ്റിയായി ഉപയോഗപ്പെടുത്തുകയും ചെയ്തു. ഡച്ചുകാർ ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് ഈസ്റ്റ് ഇന്ത്യാ കമ്പനിയ്ക്ക് 1795 – ൽ കീഴടങ്ങി. കൊച്ചിയിൽ കൊങ്കണികൾ എന്നറിയപ്പെടുന്ന ഗൗഡ സാരസ്വത ബ്രാഹ്മണർ ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് ഈസ്റ്റ് ഇന്ത്യാ കമ്പനിയുടെ കൈവശമുണ്ടായിരുന്ന ലിംഗം വാങ്ങുകയും കൊച്ചി തിരുമല ദേവസ്വത്തിന്റെ കിഴക്കെ കുളത്തിന്റെ വടക്കുകിഴക്ക് ഭാഗത്തുള്ള മതിൽക്കെട്ടിനുള്ളിൽ പ്രതിഷ്ഠിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. അവിടെ ഒരു ഉദ്യാനം ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ആയതിനാൽ ശിവന് “ഉദ്യാനേശ്വരൻ” എന്ന നാമകരണം ഉണ്ടായി. പ്രതിഷ്ഠിച്ച ലിംഗത്തിന്റെ അധികഭാഗവൂം ഭൂമിയുടെ അടിയിലാണ് സ്ഥിതി ചെയ്യുന്നത് എന്നുള്ളത് ഈ പ്രതിഷ്ഠയുടെ സവിശേഷതയാണ്. പഴയ സ്ഥലത്തിന്റെ സമതലത്തിൽ നിന്നും നാലര അടി ഉയരം ഉള്ളതായിട്ടാണ് ലിംഗം ഇപ്പോൾ കാണുന്നത്. ഈ ലിംഗത്തിന്റെ യഥാർത്ഥ ഉയരം 21 അടി ഉള്ളതായിട്ടാണ് വിശ്വാസം. ഈ ലിംഗത്തിന്റെ പുറമേയുള്ള ചുറ്റളവ് 6 അടിയാണ്. ഈ ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ നവീകരണവും, പുന:പ്രതിഷ്ഠയും 1968 – ൽ കൊച്ചി തിരുമല ദേവസ്വം അധികാരികൾ നടത്തുകയുണ്ടായി. ഈ ക്ഷേത്രം കൊച്ചി തിരുമല ദേവസ്വത്തിന്റെ ഭരണത്തിൻ കീഴിലാണ്.
കൊച്ചി തിരുമല ദേവസ്വം ക്ഷേത്രത്തിലെ വർഷം തോറും ഉള്ള വൃശ്ചികം, മേടം മാസങ്ങളിലെ രണ്ടു ആറാട്ട് ഉത്സവങ്ങളിൽ ഏഴാം ദിവസം വൈകുന്നേരം ഗോശ്രീപുര ശ്രീ വെങ്കടേശദേവരുടെ എഴുന്നള്ളിപ്പ് വിഗ്രഹം കുതിര വാഹനത്തിൽ ഇരുത്തി മുഖ്യക്ഷേത്രത്തിൽ നിന്നും പുറപ്പെട്ട് ഉദ്യാനേശ്വര ക്ഷേത്രത്തിൽ എഴുന്നള്ളുകയും ഉദ്യാനേശ്വര ദേവരോടൊത്തുകൂടി പള്ളിവേട്ട നടത്തുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നു.
തിങ്കളാഴ്ച തോറും വൈകുന്നേരം ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ മുൻവശം സ്ഥാപിച്ചിട്ടുള്ള ദീപസ്തംഭം കൊളുത്തി ദീപാലങ്കാരം ചെയ്യുക പതിവാണ്. പ്രധാന ഉത്സവം കുംഭ മാസത്തിലെ മഹാശിവരാത്രിയാണ്. പ്രധാന വഴിപാടായി നിർവ്വഹിക്കുന്നത് രുദ്രാഭിഷേകം, പുഷ്പാഞ്ജലി, രുദ്രഹവനം, ചന്ദനലേപനം, ബില്വാർച്ചന മുതലായവയാണ്. എല്ലാ മാസവും ത്രയോദശി നാൾ വൈകുന്നേരം പ്രദോഷപൂജ നടത്തുന്നത് ഈ ക്ഷേത്രത്തിലെ ഒരു പ്രത്യേകതയാണ്. ശിവഭഗവാനെ പ്രീതിപ്പെടുത്തുവാൻ ദർഭപുല്ല് വഴി മേലോട്ട് തൂക്കിയിട്ടുള്ള ധാരാപാത്രത്തിൽ കൂടി തുടർച്ചയായി 24 മണിക്കൂറും ജലധാര നടന്നുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു.
Chertallai or Cherthala town (known as Muttath in olden days) is about 27 Km from Cochin on the Cochin-Alleppey highway NH47, mid-way between Cochin and Alleppey. The temple in the heart of the town about 1 km from the private bus stand. The temple is believed to be constructed in 1763 AD.
Here’s a small history on Muttath temple.
There was a small Siva temple at Muttath owned by a Namboothiri Brahmin, in the 18th century. The Namboothiri gave the temple and the associated land to GSB two families (Alungal and Kothakulangara) and left the place. These familes dedicated the temple and its properties to the GSB community of Muttath. A temple was later constructed (facing East) and prathista done in 1763 AD [254 years back] by Srimat Madhavendra Tirtha Swamiji of Kashi Mutt.
At the time of prathista Sri Swamiji gave a comparatively large Narasimha Salagrama to the temple for worship, which is placed in the Srikovil along with the Venkatachalapathy idol. This salagrama is believed to be very auspicious and powerful. Many consider it as the main prathista in the temple.
It is believed that, before the construction of the temple, the Venkatachalapathy idol was brought here and worshipped under a Nelli Tree (Awla tree) which exists even today at South-West corner of the temple premises. This tree is considered divine and poojas are done at the tree.
The Siva temple orginally belonged to the Namboothiri who gave away this land, is seen even today at the North-East corner of the temple premises and faces West. There is Yakshi and Naga prathista next to the Siva temple.
On 1st July 1974, the idols from Srikovil (except Narasimha Salagrama) and some pooja vessels were stolen. The thief was caught by the police within few days and the idols were recovered. When the trial was going on in the court, the thief told that he could not take away the Salagrama (covered in old sheet) since he felt like electric shock when he tried to touch it. The punapratishta was done on 24-02-1975 by Srimat Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji.
Chonath (Chennamangalam) temple. .
This temple was established in 1900 AD (117 years back) at Chennamangalam (earlier known as Jayantha mangalam), 42 km from Ernakulam, 22 km from Alwaye and 5 km from North Parur. The main deity is Venugopalakrishna Swamy. We always call it as Chonath temple.
Here i a brief history on Chonath temple.
Those GSBs settled in Cochin spread to neighbouring suburbs and villages. Some families came and settled in Chennamangalam. Since they did not have any place of worship in the village, they had to visit the nearest temple at North Parur by foot for spiritual needs. However, many felt that they should have a temple of their own at Chennamangalam. So they joined together under Chennoth parambil Sri Dasa Prabhu and started efforts to establish a temple. They approached the Paliayam Valiyachan of the Paliyam Swaroopam and requested for help. He donated the land for construction of temple. With the liberal donations from local mahajans, the temple was constructed and the Pratishta made on 30-4-1900. Twelve community members under the leadership of Chennoth parambil Ramachandra Prabhu started a Chitty in 1920. The generated profit was used to acquire land for the temple to meet the daily expenses. Later in 1956 the children of Chennoth parambil Sri Dasa Prabhu formed an Endowment Trust in his name and donated 10 Acres of land and Rs. 65000 to temple on behalf of the trust. In due course necessary constructions like Agrasala, Anapandal etc. were made. The temple was renovated in 1995 and the Srikovil was covered with Copper plate.
Srimad Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji had his Chaturmasya Vrita at this temple in 1973. At present there are about 100 GSB families in Chennamangalam.
[Anantha Narayana Puram (A N Puram) Temple, Alappuzha.
This temple is situated at A.N Puram near Medical College Hospital, about 500 meters from the NH47 highway. This is popularly known as the New Thirumala temple and was established in 1852 AD (165 years back). Fairly long temple!
Presently the main prathistha is Sree Narasimha Murthy in the ‘उग्र’ form. The simhasana in the srikovil has Venkatachalapathy with Lakshmi Devi and Bhoomi Devi at the top level. On the next step is Sree Narasimha Murthi with Mahalakshmi on the left lap. The Utsav deities are on the next step.
A bit on history of the temple..
This temple has a peculiar history. It is more known in relation to the Cochin Venkatachalapathy idol case. During the persecution of Konkanies at Cochin, the rare Venkateswara idol along with the idols of Lakshmi Devi from Cochin Gosripuram temple and Narasimha Moorthi from Thuravoor temple were shifted to Alleppey in 1792 AD and kept in the North Agrasala of the Alleppey Venkatachalapathy (old Thirumala) temple for more than 60 years. Due to the presence of this divine idol Alleppey progressed in trade and commerce and became an important sea port. Meanwhile, with change of governance in Cochin, the new Raja of Cochin realised the importance of the idol and demanded it back.
However, seeing the progress of Alleppey due to the presence of the idol, Maharaja of Travancore denied the request and also made necessary arrangements for security and safeguard of the Venkatachalapathy idol. He also wished to have this idol installed in a new temple and the Deevan Krishna Rao to acquire the land and provide the wood and money for construction of a new temple. Accordingly the temple was constructed in a new location about 1 km south of the old Thirumala temple. Maharaja also gave the name Anantha Narayana Puram to this new temple area.
There is a saying that the original name was Akhanda Narayana Puram which became Anantha Narayana Puram over the years. This is unlikely because the name suggested by the Maharaja of Travancore would be only Anantha Narayana in relation to the royal temple of Anantha Padmanabha at Trivandrum.
The idols of Venkatachalapathy, Lakshmi Devi and Narasimha Murthi were moved from the Agrasala of the old temple and consecrated in the new temple in 1852 AD by Srimad Bhuvanendra Tirtha Swamiji of Kashi Mutt. Just within ten months of the prathista, the Venkatachalapathy idol was clandestinely taken back to Cochin on the midnight of 7th Feb 1853. It was taken out of the Alleppey Ananthanarayana Puram Temple at night in a basket covered by Naivedyam (Mooleeku) and carried to Cochin by country boat via Aroor, beyond which was the Cochin State. The people of Alleppey came to know about this only in the next morning by the time the idol was beyond the Travancore State boundary and could not do anything.
The original idols of Laksmi Devi and Narasimha Murthi are still at the Temple. A new idol of Venkatachalapathy was installed in this temple in 1903 A.D by Srimad Varadendra Tirtha Swamiji. The temple originally celebrated two annual festivals of 8 days each for Venkatachalapathy. As seen in Devaprasnam, another annual 5 day festival (Sree Narasimha Jayanthi) was started in 1913 A.D for Narasimha Murthi.
Payasam and Poison
The starting of Narasimha Jayanthi festival at the temple is said to be due to an incident in the temple. During the annual festival, daily meals or Sadya was provided to the Community members. Once at the end of the Sadya the payasam was served and everybody had it consumed. Meanwhile a poisonous snake in cooked form was found in the vessel containing the payasam. When the news spread everybody became panic and the authorities requested all to stay back in the temple and mass prayer was offered to Lord Narasimha. Everybody escaped unharmed except one person who ignored the request of the authorities and left the temple. This person died of poison. It is said that after this event, the tip of a finger of the Narasimha Muthi’s leg turned bluish as if the poison was absorbed by the Murthi. The Narasimha Jayanthi festival was started subsequently as seen in Devaprasnam.
Position of the Murthi
It is believed that the vision or Drishti of the Narasimha Murthi is devastating. This is indicated by the bare area in front of the temple and no establishments exist here. To avoid this, the position of the murthi was tilted backwards so that the Drishti will not directly hit the front.
The Hair of Narasimha Murthi
Once a Royal dignitary visited the temple late in the evening when the sreekovil was just being closed. The Poojari has exhausted the flowers being given to the devotees and so he took out (without the notice of the visitor) some flowers he had already kept on his head and offered it to the visitor. The visitor accepted it and on finding a hair in the flowers asked whether the Narasimha Murthi has hairs. Afraid of the royal wrath the Poojari said Yes. The visitor then insisted that he should be shown the hair of Narasimha Murthi. The Poojari then told that since poojas are over and sreekovil is closed he can show the hairs only the next day. The visitor left the temple insisting that he will be back the next day to see the hairs. The worried Poojari prayed to Lord Narasimha all-through the night.
Lord in appeared in dream and told the Poojari not to worry and ask the Visitor to view the idol with only one eye keeping the other eye closed. The next day as requested by the Poojari the visitor viewed the idol with one eye wherein he could see divine bright light and he also lost sight of that eye permanently.
Mooliku seems to be one of the most sought after Prasad in this temple.
Sree Vittala temple at Kayamkulam. .
The Sree Vittala temple is situated close to the market about 1 km on the eastern side of NH47 Highway at Kayamkulam. This temple is locally know as the Konkani temple. One can reach the temple from Railway station or KSRTC bus stand by Auto. It is about 2 km from bus stand and 4 km from the railway station.
The temple is about 400 years old and the main deity is Sree Vittala. It is believed that Vittala or Vithoba is Naada Murthi and is fond of bhajans and He does not need other poojas. The speciality of the temple is its Chariot and the Ratholsavam (pulling of the Chariot around the temple) on the ninth day of the two festivals celebrated annually.
The temple is well woven with the day to day life of GSB community of Kayamkulam than any other GSB temple in Kerala.
The temple has a very disturbing history.
The temple is believed to be constructed in the early 18th century by the GSBs of Kayamkulam with the help of Raja of Kayamkulam who was a devotee of Lord Krishna. Some of the families who migrated to kerala in the late 16th century settled in Kayamkulam. A pundit by name Vittoba once took a pilgrimage to North India and on the way reached Pandharpur which is the seat of Panduranga Vittala. He got a divine idol of Vittala from a temple in Pandharpur and carried it with him back to Kayamkulam. He kept the idol in his house and worshipped it as his Kuladevata. Once he had a dream that Vittala wanted him to offer the idol to the public for worship. The idol was then shifted and kept in the Venkateswara Temple (a family temple) at Kayamkulam near the present Vittoba Temple (about 500 m away).
The community chiefs met the the Raja of Kayamkulam and requested for help to construct a permanent temple for Vittala. The Raja given land and wood for construction of the Temple. There was a small Siva shrine in the land donated by the Raja and this shrine is seen even today within the Vittala Temple complex.
Kayamkulam Vithoba temple is one temple, where Swamiji of Gokarna mutt used to visit. There is a story connecting GSBs of Kayamkulam and an earlier Swamiji of Gokarna Mutt. Seems people of Kayamkulam has helped then Swamiji in a peculiar situation, and the Mutt is reciprocating it by making regular visits by Swamiji. in 2015, HH Swami Vidhyadhiraja Theertha Swamiji stayed for few days in this temple.
Sree Varaha Temple at Varappuzha.
Sree Varaha temple is located in Varapuzha about 15 Km from Ernakulam towards Kodungallur. The temple is more than 450 years old and established by the batch of GSBs who migrated from Goa.
The original deity in the temple was Lord Narasimha, which was later shifted to Sree Venkatramana temple, Mulki and was replaced by a magnificent seven hooded idol of Varaha Swami brought from Goa. After installation of the Varaha murthy, this place came to be known as Varahapuzha which later became Varapuzha.
The temple belonged to the family of Valiya Veetil. Since the number of GSBs in the area was less, the temple could not be maintained well due to financial difficulties. Therefore, the governance was handed over to the Alleppey Ananthaanarayana Puram Thuravoor Tirumala Devaswom (AATTD). AATTD has paddy fields at the west side of the temple. The temple was renovated and punapratishta done in 1950 AD. The main gopuram was constructed recently. This leads to the Anapandal contructed on 8 pillars. Each pillar has a silpa of Dasavathar each on it (see pic on the left for Matsya avatar). The remaining 2 (Varaha and Narasimha) are on pillars at the entrance to nalambalam. The yearly festival is celebrated in the Falguna masa.
Here’s a story about the original Lord Narasimha idol of this temple.
Shri Vijayendra Tirtha Swami who gave deeksha to the first Swamiji of Shri Kashi Math Samsthan, came in possession of Lord Narsimha depicting very violent passion called ‘Ugra’ (Ferocious) which he first installed in the temple. However, in a dream the Lord appeared to him and ordained, “Take me to Volalanka (Mulki) and install there. I shall remain calm and fulfill the desires of all the devotees who take shelter under me”. Accordingly from Kerala, with a few devotees Shri Swamiji, set out for Mulki by foot. After a few days they reached Padupanambur the capital of the Jain Kings, Savants. From here by foot the journey to Mulki was taking one hour. But by then the dusk fell. Shri Swamiji sent his men to the palace to get light for onward journey. But surprisingly the king refused as the Swamiji did not belong to his faith. Shri Swamiji with a smile said, “When the very Lord who gives light to all the three worlds is with us why should we worry? Let’s continue the journey.” When they had hardly crossed outskirts of Padupanambur, the roof of the palace suddenly caught fire and flames touched the sky.
The King and his men could not extinguish the fire at all. In the glare of that light Shri Swamiji completed the journey. On Datta Jayanti Day on 23rd November 1569, Margashira Poornima (the most auspicious month according to Bhagwad Gita) Lord Narsimha was formally installed there. The Mulki temple was established in 1260 A.D. by Shri Soira Vittal Bhat, an astrologer, as a shrine dedicated to Lord Vittal under the patronage of the local Jain King at Padupanambur. The Mulki temple has presiding deities Sree Vittala, Sree Venkatraman, Sree Ugra Narasimha and Sree Bindu Madhav (procession deity).
The Story further at Padupanambur: At Padupanambur, the King wanted to rebuild the palace. But whenever the trees were fell for timber, they were full of charcoal. He consulted astrologers who declared that the king had incurred the wrath of Lord Narasimha. They suggested his visit to the temple to seek forgiveness. He did it and only thereafter the things became favourable. Again he visited the temple and sought a favour. The deity should pay a visit at least once a year to his palace and bless him and his family. A strange favour but long time ago his forefathers while in Mulki had patronised this temple. So it was agreed that every year Lord Vittal would pay a visit on Vanabhojan Day. Even today traversing a distance of 10 miles both ways by palanquin overnight, Lord Vittal goes to Padupanambur and receives the prayers and blesses the descendants of the King.
Sree Rama Temple, Tripunithura.
Tripunithura, the location of the palace of Cochin Maharaja, is a suburb about 12 km from Ernakulam. The pratishta in the temple is Sri Rama with Sita and Lakshman. This idol is believed to be given by the 5th pontiff of Kashi Mutt, Srimad Raghvendra Tirtha (samadhi 1726 AD) who is said to have the darshan of Lord Narasimha in one of the pooja rooms at Kashi.
The original pratishta was in a small temple constructed in the land owned by a family migrated to this place from Varapuzha. Subsequently a new temple was constructed at the present location in about 1658 AD. This prathista also is believed to be done by the Swamiji (Authentic dates unavailable).
Other deities: Inside the inner temple there is a pratishta of Ganapati. There are sub-temples of Hanuman, Nagaraja and Durga in the main temple premises. The Hanuman pratishta is attracting many devotees and is believed to be blessed by the presence of Guruswamy Govinda Vadhyar of Kollam who is said to have the darshan of Lord Hanuman. He had come to this temple and is said to have cured many children.
Once Srimad Raghavendra Tirtha visited Tripunithura and stayed in the Varapuzha family for some days. While leaving the place, satisfied with the family, he blessed the members and gave them the Sri Rama idol which has been personally worshipped by him. The Varapuzha family installed the Rama idol in a small temple constructed in their premises. Subsequently, the Panakkal family of Tripunithura (the Swamiji is believed to be from this family), approached the Swamiji and requested for an idol for worship by the family. Swamiji gave them the Bhagavatham (a Taliyola or book made from leaves) used by him and blessed that the book too will have the presence of Lord.
In about 1658 AD, the Varapuzha and Panakkal families dedicated the Rama idol and the Book to the GSB community at Tripunithura for worship. In the piece of land donated by the Thamarassery Naicken family, a new temple was constructed and the Idol and Book were installed in the new temple. The temple was later renovated and punah-prathista done in 1895 AD.
When the Portuguese attacked the Cochin Thirumala Devaswom Temple in 1662 A.D, the community removed the idol of Shri Venkateswara along with processional deities from Cochin Gosripuram temple for safety and shifted to Udayamperur. After the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in 1663 A.D, the idols were shifted back to Cochin. While on their way back to Cochin, the procession deity of Lord Venaktewara was temporarily placed for worship in the Agrasala of Shri Rama temple at Tripunithura. Meanwhile, Sri Hari Shenoy, the then Manager of the Cochin Thirumala Devaswom had a dream wherein the Lord Venkateswara directed him that the Venkateswara idol placed in the Agrasala of the Tripunithura temple should also be installed at the newly constructed Karanakodam temple. The Lord Venkateswara image was then taken out in a palanquin as a procession to Karanakodam temple and installed there as directed in the dream.
By the early 20th century, the temple was in a neglected state and reached the worst financial condition. At the request of the community, the temple governance was taken over by the Tripunithura Devaswom Board by order of the Maharaja of Cochin in 1940 AD. In 1961 AD, after a legal battle with Govt the temple was handed over back to the community.
The original Book kept in the Srikovil in a Copper box decayed completely and in 1979 AD Srimad Sudheendra Tirtha Swamiji blessed and handed over a Ramayana book to be kept in its place.
During Annual festivals, the procession starts from the Varapuzha family who donated the Rama idol to the temple.
In 1981AD, a Devaprasnam was conducted at the temple and it was revealed that the temple is without the presence of Venkatachalapathy after the shifting of Venkateswara idol from the temple to Karanakodam. This has been the reason for deterioration of the temple and the local community. A Venkatachalapathy idol was then installed in the same place where the previous idol was kept, before shifting to Karanakodam. The pratishta was done by Srimad Sudheendra Teertha Swamiji in 1981 AD.
Tirumala Devaswom Temple, Gosripuram, Kochi.
This is the biggest and most important socio-religious institution of Gowda Saraswat Brahmins of Kerala.
The temple is situated at Cherlai in the heart of Mattancherry town in Cochin area which is one of the earliest settlements of GSBs in Kerala. The temple was established in the later half of 16th century. The history of GSBs in Kerala is inter-woven with that of this temple and its Venkateswara idol.
The prathista is on a five layered throne. The main idol of Venkateswara, his consorts, Sreedevi and Bhoodevi on either side is situated at the top of the throne, Utsava Murti with consorts in the middle and Utsava Lakshmi at the lower layer. On the lowest layer are the Salagramas.
There are four sub-temples / shrines inside the main temple premises, dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi, Hanuman, Garuda and Vigneshwara. The Brindavan of Swami Sukrutindra Teertha is also located here. A Naga Yakshi pedestal is situated on the southwest corner of the main temple next to the Vighneshwara shrine. On Naga Panchami day Abhishekam of tender coconut is performed to this granite idol. Devotees light oil lamp here for warding off evil and freedom from fear.
The Venkateswara Idol
The Idol of Lord Venkateswara being worshipped at Cochin Tirumala Devaswom temple was obtained from Swami Vijayendra Teertha of Sree Kumbhakonam Mutt in exchange of a heap of gold coins which would immerse the idol. Three pratishthas (Consecrations) of the idol has taken place at this temple in the last four hundred years. It is believed that the area where this divine idol resides, will have 20 pounds of gold daily (or prosperity equivalent to that).
Story of the idol
During 15th Century AD, the Vijayanagar Kingdom was ruled by a pious king Saluva Narasimha Raya, one of the popular royal dynasties of ancient India. This king was an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati and used to visit the temple by walking up the hill for worship. When the king became old and physically incapable to walk, he prayed the Lord to see him daily.
One day a sculptor appeared before him and agreed to make an idol of the Lord for his daily worship. The king gave the sculptor the required materials for making the idol and the sculptor shut himself up in a room. As he did not come out of the room even after a reasonably long period, the room was broken open only to see the idol of the Lord; the sculptor missing. It is believed that the Lord himself came as the sculptor and the idol is considered as Swayambhu or self born. The king built a temple for the idol and he was instructed by the Lord in his dreams to consecrate the idol during the auspicious time, when the heavenly drums dundubhi would be heard.
As fate would have it, some crows happened to fly over the royal drums with twigs in their beaks and the twigs accidentally dropped on the drums producing a sound, which was mistaken for the auspicious hour indicated by the Lord. The idol was duly consecrated at that hour which was inauspicious.The grief stricken king was pacified by the Lord in his dream that He would remain with him till his death, after which he would leave for a place by name Gosripuram. After the demise of the king, a great fire broke out in the kingdom and the idol was thrown into a dilapidated well. As the legend has it, Swami Vijayendra Teertha of Sree Kumbhakonam Mutt who happened to traverse that region during one of his tours, is said to have been led by a serpent to the well wherein the idol of the Lord was deposited.
The Swamiji recovered the idol from the well and started worshipping the idol along with his other idols. Swami Vijayendra Tieetha visited Cochin and performed Chaturmasa Vrata among the Gauda Saraswat Brahmin Community of Cochin. Upon seeing the radiance of the idol, the community of Cochin under the leadership of Sri Mala Pai, requested the idol from the Swamiji. The Swamiji agreed to hand over the idol in exchange for a heap of gold coins that would immerse the idol. All the gold coins brought in by the wealthy Mala Pai could cover only the body of the idol and not its tip. It was presumed that the Lord did not want to stay at cochin as a property of an individual.
Only gold coins and ornaments brought in from the home of every community member could cover the tip of the idol. Kanakabishekam, a symbolic ritual of this immersion of the idol in gold is performed to the Lord even to this day during any special occasion
The First Pratishtha was performed by Swami Sudheendra Teertha, the disciple of Swami Vijayendra Teertha in the year 1599 AD.
Second Pratishtha: During the second half of the 17 Century AD the Dutch made an unsuccessful attempt to capture the Fort at Cochin from the Portuguese. The Konkanis who rendered assistance to the Dutch were tortured by the Portuguese and their houses, markets and temple known as Cochin Tirumala Devaswom were plundered. The Konkanis had to flee from Cochin to a place called Udayamperur. But later on when the Portuguese surrendered to the Dutch, the Konkanis resettled at Cochin and reconstructed the temple. The second Prathistha of Lord Venkatesvara was performed in the reconstructed temple at Cochin during the year 1719 AD. The consecration took place at the hands of Swami Devendra Teertha, the sixth pontiff of Sree Kashi Mutt Samsthan.
Third Pratishtha: Later half of 18th Century marked the terrible persecution of the Konkanis at the hands of Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran and the temple too was looted. The persecuted konkanis fled southwards to Alleppey in the Travancore region along with the idol of the Lord Venkatesvara. They were allowed to settle at Alleppey and install their idol in a temple there near the Alleppey canal with an assurance to bring about their return to Cochin once better atmosphere prevailed. Alleppey prospered as a business centre during the stay of Konkanis there and the prosperity was attributed to the power of Lord Venkateswara installed there. After the death of Shakthan Thampuran, the raja who succeeded him took keen interest to get back the idol of Lord Venkateswara to Cochin. Their repeated requests were turned down. The desperate Konkanis had to ultimately steal the idol from Alleppy. As it was found that the Raja of Cochin too was involved in this robbery, fierce legal battle followed for decades between the Raja of Cochin and Travancore and in the end the GSB community of Cochin won the case. The idol of the Lord was consecrated for the third time at the renovated temple in 1881 AD. The four sub temples inside the main temple premises, dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi, Hanuman, Garuda and Vigneswara were built during this period. The Pratishtha took place at the hands of Swami Bhuvanendra Teertha, the 17th pontiff of Sree Kashi Mutt Samsthan along with his disciple Swami Varadendra Teertha.
The temple is situated in a vast area of 5 ½ acres. The Coconut Palm grove all around the temple area gives it a panoramic look. There is a broad pathway around the temple outskirts. On the north east corner is the Papanasam temple tank. The revolving cradle in the upper storey of the copper roofed Mani Mandapam in the centre of the tank is an excellent piece of temple art noted for wood work and engineering skill. Chakrasnanam is conducted here twice a year during the eighth day of temple festivals.
There are two Aaratu festivals which falls in the months of Vrichikam and Meenam with a duration of 8 days.
The Pagoda type two storeyed Northern Gopuram and seventy feet high three storeyed Vimana shaped Eastern Gopuram are works of marvel. Beautiful paintings by indigenous craftsmen depicting various scenes from the Puranas and epics adorn the ceiling of the northern gopuram.
In the outer most periphery of the complex is housed the Sukrateendra Sadan, the Bungalow for the Swamiji to camp during his visits, Saraswati Nilayam, which houses the Temple Library, Santhi Kulam, the bathing tank for temple priests, Dove cot, Mini Garden, Elephant Shed, Gosala, vast Agrasalas, Stores, Yogasala, Treasury, Vessel Store, Main Office, Veda Patasala, Vyasa Mandir, Vahanas-Gallery, Vimana House, Washing Tank, huge Uootupura, & Main Flower Garden. The next Prakara is wide open ground for Sheeveli and Vahana Pooja . Adjacent to it is Kalyana Utsav pathway through which the Festival deities are taken in Palanquin in a procession before and after Kalyanotsavam.
The temple is governed by the the Cochin Tirumala Devaswom.
Temple tank & Chakra Snanam
The temple tank or PadmaTeertham is outside the temple main gopuram on the north-east corner and has the Aarattumandapam at its centre. On the eighth and final day of Aratt (annual festival) the Lord is taken in the gold palanquin in a procession to the temple tank. The Lord is taken round the tank in a canoe specially decorated for the occasion. Chakra Snanam or immersion of the Sudarshana Chakra along with the Salagrama in the tank is performed here. The Lord along with his consorts is seated on a revolving cradle on the first floor of the Aarattumandapam. Later in the night, the Lord seated in golden palanquin complete proceeds in a royal procession to the temple to the accompaniment of Panchavadyam.
A special event of this evening is that when the procession just comes out of the Aarattumandapam, the Arati is offered to the Lord on behalf of king Saluva Narasimha Raya, the king for whom this Lord appeared as Swayambhu and also on behalf of Swami Vijayendra Teertha, the Swamiji who brought the idol to Cochin.
The idols of these two personalities are installed at the entrance of the Aarattumandapam.